The newest building to Knox's campus, the Whitcomb Art Center (WAC), is home to the art and art history departments. The space is designed to reflect the studies it houses, with spaces for studio classes, seminars, and classrooms, but is also designed to highlight Knox's commitment to sustainability. The building is not only stylish, but also an environmentally friendly structure that was designed with future LEED certification in mind.
Environmental and structural benefits:
- 17% reduced energy use
- 84% of construction waste diverted from landfill
- 95% of interior spaces provide views
Strategies that reduce the impact on energy, water, and resources:
- The building's high-performing envelope is optimized for the harsh winters, mild swing-seasons, and the intense sunlight of central Illinois.
- Giant movable shade screens roll along an exterior track at the west façade allowing students and faculty to manually adjust the amount of direct sunlight allowed through western windows into the main public spaces of the building.
- A horizontal exterior light shelf at south-facing windows bounce sunlight onto the ceiling planes of student work spaces for natural daylight dispersal.
- A continuous thermal insulation layer wraps the building completely on the outside face of the walls' and roofs' structural layers.
- All windows and skylights utilize a thermally broken aluminum glazing system.
- Operable windows at opposing ends of rooms enable natural cross-ventilation through work spaces to improve air quality and human comfort.
- Wood siding salvaged from a demolished lumberyard shed on the art building's site was reused as exterior wood cladding and interior wall paneling.
- Locally made antique brick pavers salvaged from previously demolished Galesburg sidewalks and streets were repurposed as vertical masonry cladding the building's public streetfront.
Much of the building's robust performance is tied to its specific sawtooth roof form:
- North-facing skylights in the repeating sawtooth roof gables bring evenly dispersed daylight inside. This allows most of the building's interior to be evenly illuminated with high-quality ambient sky light without the unwanted solar heat gain of direct sunlight and without electric lighting usage during daytime.
- The repeating sawtooth gable roof form provides broad, optimally-sloped south-facing roof surfaces at an optimal tilt that will be able to receive a large solar PV array for future on-site solar energy generation.
- The sawtooth roof valleys funnel storm water into detention swales and rain gardens which are integrated into the building's entry courtyard.
Though design and planning makes a sustainable building, it is really up to the building occupants to ensure systems can function as they were designed. Here are a few tips to help keep WAC sustainable:
- Turn off lights when you are done with a space. Many of the communal spaces are on building controls to turn off when the building is empty, but smaller rooms are controlled by you.
- Reduce water use. Running a sink longer than necessary wastes water. Think about collecting water in a container to wash a number of items at a time.
- Personal comfort is important for every degree you raise the thermostat you increase your energy use. Try wearing layers in the colder months instead of turning up the heat.
- Be aware of items that Knox can and can't recycle. Think about reusing something before throwing it out.